Exit Parallel Mode
 
6
Servant Leaders
1During those days the number of Jesus’ followers kept multiplying greatly. But a complaint was brought against those who spoke Aramaic by the Greek-speaking Jews, who felt their widows were being overlooked during the daily distribution of food.
2The twelve apostles called a meeting of all the believers and told them, “It is not advantageous for us to be pulled away from the word of God to wait on tables. 3We want you to carefully select from among yourselves seven godly men. Make sure they are honorable, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and we will give them the responsibility of this crucial ministry of serving. 4That will enable us to give our full attention to prayer and preaching the word of God.”
5Everyone in the church loved this idea. So they chose seven men. One of them was Stephen, who was known as a man full of faith and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Along with him they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas from Antioch, who had converted to Judaism. 6All seven stood before the apostles, who laid their hands on them and prayed for them, commissioning them to this ministry.
7God’s word reigned supreme and kept spreading. The number of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem quickly grew and increased by the day. Even a great number of Jewish priests became believers and were obedient to the faith!
8Stephen, who was a man full of grace and supernatural power, performed many astonishing signs and wonders and mighty miracles among the people. 9This upset some men belonging to a sect who called themselves the Men Set Free. They were Libyans, Egyptians, and Turks.
They all confronted Stephen to argue with him. 10But the Holy Spirit gave Stephen remarkable wisdom to answer them. His words were prompted by the Holy Spirit, and they could not refute what he said. 11So the Men Set Free conspired in secret to find those who would bring false accusations against Stephen and lie about him by saying, “We heard this man speak blasphemy against Moses and God.”
12The Men Set Free agitated the crowd, the elders, and the religious scholars, then seized Stephen and forcefully took him before the supreme council. 13One after another, false witnesses stepped forward and accused Stephen, saying, “This man never stops denigrating our temple and our Jewish law. 14For we have heard him teach that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the temple and change the traditions and customs that Moses handed down to us.”
15Every member of the supreme council focused his gaze on Stephen, for right in front of their eyes, while being falsely accused, his face glowed as though he had the face of an angel!
6
Seven Leaders Are Chosen
1In those days the number of believers was growing. The Jews who followed Greek practices complained against the Jews who followed only Jewish practices. They said that the widows of men who followed Greek practices were not being taken care of. They weren't getting their fair share of food each day. 2So the Twelve gathered all the believers together. They said, "It wouldn't be right for us to give up teaching God's word in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven of your men. They must be known as men who are wise and full of the Holy Spirit. We will turn this important work over to them. 4Then we can give our attention to prayer and to teaching the word."
5This plan pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen. He was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas were chosen too. The group also chose Nicolas from Antioch. He had accepted the Jewish faith. 6The group brought them to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on them.
7So God's word spread. The number of believers in Jerusalem grew quickly. Also, a large number of priests began to obey Jesus' teachings.
Stephen Is Arrested
8Stephen was full of God's grace and power. He did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9But members of the group called the Synagogue of the Freedmen began to oppose him. Some of them were Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria. Others were Jews from Cilicia and Asia Minor. They all began to argue with Stephen. 10But he was too wise for them. They couldn't stand up against the Holy Spirit who spoke through him.
11Then in secret they talked some men into lying about Stephen. They said, "We heard Stephen speak evil things against Moses. He also spoke evil things against God."
12So the people were stirred up. The elders and the teachers of the law were stirred up too. They arrested Stephen and brought him to the Sanhedrin. 13They found people who were willing to tell lies. The false witnesses said, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place. He also speaks against the law. 14We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place. He says Jesus will change the practices that Moses handed down to us."
15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked right at Stephen. They saw that his face was like the face of an angel.